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College Football Season
Hawai'i Bowl

Southern Miss Southern Miss (12-2) 24
Nevada Nevada (7-6) 17

Bowl Index

Game Recap

by CFP Staff
December 25, 2011

On Christmas Eve, Southern Miss downed Nevada 24-17 in the Hawai'i Bowl in Larry Fedora's last game as head coach of the Golden Eagles.

Fedora, who led Southern Miss to a school record 12-win season in his final year, takes over as head coach at North Carolina next season.

The game was sparsely-attended and short on sizzle - the teams set a pair of Hawai'i Bowl records for futility by combining to punt 17 times and scoring just 41 total points.

The game was seemingly over once the USM defense figured out how to halt Nevada senior RB Lampford Mark and the pistol offense. The Wolf Pack entered the game ranked 5th nationally with 522.8 total yards per game, and 8th in rushing with 251.8 yards per game.

On this day, Mark had 162 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns in the first half, but was held to just 21 yards after intermission. Nevada QB Cody Fajardo was yanked for Tyler Lantrip after three 3-and-outs to open the second half. Nevada finished with just 190 rushing and 315 total net yards.

Though Golden Eagle QB Austin Davis also had an off-day, completing just 18-of-41 for 165 yards, he did manage a pair of touchdown passes.

Nevada saw its all-time bowl record drop to 4-8 while it fell to 1-2 in Hawai'i Bowls.

Southern Miss improved to 10-12 in bowl games in its first Hawai'i Bowl appearance.

The Golden Eagles concluded a CUSA championship season with a 12-2 record, including a 49-28 upset at Houston in the conference's title game.

The Wolf Pack wrapped up their season on a down note, losing three of their last four games to finish 7-6 when it was appearing they would take over a WAC championship trophy. But Nevada tied for 2nd with Utah State with a 5-2 conference mark, behind Louisiana Tech, after losing to the Bulldogs and Aggies on the last two Saturdays of November.

This was the 10th consecutive bowl trip for Southern Miss, and 14th in the last 15 seasons. None of those previous campaigns ended with more than 9 victories and half of them saw the team finish with just 7 wins. This season's two losses are the school's fewest since Curley Hallman's 1988 squad went 10-2.

Fedora accepted the head coaching job at North Carolina on December 8. Southern Miss announced Ellis Johnson as its new head coach on December 20. The South Carolina defensive coordinator will head to Hattiesburg after South Carolina's appearance against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on January 2.

The Golden Eagles finished 34-19 in Fedora's 4 seasons at the helm.

The Wolf Pack were making a bowl appearance for the seventh consecutive year and third in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl since 2005.

80% of voters picked Southern Miss to win, but the Congrove Computer Rankings projected the Golden Eagles as mere 1.97 point favorites in what it forecasted to be the bowl season's 9th-closest matchup.


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